So this was Week 16 – the final taper week with two small runs before the finale – the Snowdonia Marathon.
Here is the breakdown before the race report:
Nice run around Llyn Perris. Managed to keep my pace around what it should be per mile. Gorgeous scenery. I don’t run with my phone but on days like this I wish I had. The sun was shining, the sky was clear. It was early morning and there was nobody about. I didn’t see anybody running.
A shorter run, but good pace. Legs felt a bit like lead. I went straight from bed to the run so not sure I had warmed up properly. Didn’t help my mood. I’d driven the first part of the marathon route several times and was having doubts. Lead legs certainly didn’t help.
And then the final one: The race report:
I don’t remember what time I got up that morning. I do remember feeling bloated from my massive meal the night before. In fact – it was a huge meal of meatballs and spaghetti. Breakfast was two bagels, some porridge and some coffee. The kids were up – I do remember having plenty of time to get ready. There was no rush. The whole morning was relaxing. In his blog, a friend of mine (Mark Evans) notes that the morning was ‘chilled and laid back’ – I have to agree. I think this was because we were staying less than a mile from the start line.
The traffic into Llanberis was pretty bad so Louise dropped me off outside Pete’s Eats. I had no bag, just my running belt. They say goodbye and off I head to the meeting point with no idea where I would see them next. I knew Louise was going to try and track me in the van but where was anyone’s guess. With the race starting at 10:30, I’d made arrangements to meet the other two charity runners (Delyth and Sara) outside the Electric Railway Centre at 9:30. I was late so didn’t see them until the start line.
Having been unable to find the other two, I made my way to the start line, bumping into some people I knew on the may – all local runners from my area. Brief chat with them, quickly through the toilet queue (for the one toilet cubicle) and then a photo with Delyth and Sara, who managed to find me amongst the crowd. Shane Williams started the race with the hooter, “good luck” was shouted and off we went. I felt strong. The training had gone well. What could go wrong?
I’d been given a pacing schedule by someone called TRex on the Runner’s World Forums – I thought it would be a good idea to set my watch with a schedule. What I forgot was that the watch beeped if I wasn’t running at the correct speed. By mile 3 the beeping was getting on my nerves. I was going too fast. Way too fast. I covered the first 5 miles to the top of Pen y Pass in a time that was too quick (just over 49 minutes I think) – but it felt good. Coming down from 5 miles and onto the off-road section felt good and I hit the 13.1 mile just past Beddgelert at around 2:14 which was okay. I knew that keeping that up for the final half was not going to be possible but it was too late to regret the first half pace.
During the first 13 or so miles I struck up conversation with two people – the first was a lady that had ‘Mrs K’ on the back of her running vest and the second was a guy from Llanelli called Paul. Paul (1758) and I ran the 9 or so miles from Pen y Pas into Beddgelert at a good pace – chatting all the way about this and that. It certainly helped pass the time. As for ‘Mrs K’ – she came in and out of my run at various points. I left Paul at half way. He had decided to slow a bit and walk. I’ve since looked up his result and am glad to say he finished as well.
Coming out of Beddgelert into the second of three hills was tough. I ran the majority of this hill but changed half way up to a run/walk strategy. It helped and made sure I could run towards the third and final hill.
I don’t remember much more of the run – The third hill slowed everyone down with the people reduced to a walk. I remember looking at my watch as I arrived at 23 miles and seeing a time of 4:13. A sub 5 was definitely possible. What I didn’t bank on was the tough hill and drop over the final 3.2 miles. The drop back into Llanberis was painful. Very painful. As I came down the off-road section I stumbled as I tried to avoid a massive puddle, grabbing out to steady myself only with my hand finding barbed wire. That hurt a bit but did distract me a little from the pain in my stomach muscles. Next time (if there is one) I’ll go straight through the puddle and risk that Vicar of Dibley moment.
The final 3 miles took me longer than I wanted. 40 minutes in fact instead of my usual 27-30 minutes. I crossed the line with a chip time of 5:07. 8 minutes over my target time of 4:59. Gutted but happy, but gutted, but mostly happy 🙂 Runner’s will know what I mean (Louise knows what I mean).
The support in Llanberis was amazing – people cheering so loudly you could hear them as you came off the mountain. It’s enough to spur you on for the final few metres. The whole village must have been out in force. People shouting my name, the announcer telling everyone that I had just appeared on the final straight – just amazing to hear the appreciation for all the runners.
I managed to catch a glipse of my family as I ran the final 100 or so metres and that was enough to get the emotions rising. I knew I’d probably cry when I crossed the line – and I did. I’ve completed three marathons now and cried at the end of each one. Why does that always happen?
So I was a bit gutted with not getting the Sub 5 but at the same time I finished Marathon Eryri. One of the 2500 that did it this year. I am proud of myself. Damn right I am.
After the marathon I grabbed a cup of tea in the runner’s café before walking back to the caravan site. All done. Fish and chip supper and sleep. The run consigned to memory and already ideas for the next one.
All that is left to do is thank the support I had during the week. Family that decided to travel to North Wales on a whim; friends texting me – all helped. I was even stalked by a blue T5 with fans shouting my name at every opportunity (thanks Louise, Emma, Gwion and Gethin). Thank you also to Anne and Sian Gimblet of Elusen Jac Bach who travelled up to see the three runners that were representing their charity. I should also thank every single person that donated money to this fantastic cause. Running Eryri was a lot easier because of the money that has been raised. Thank you.
So what next? Did you run Eryri this year? I’d enjoy reading what you thought about the day.